New solar project adds to the winery’s core value of sustainability
Pepper Bridge Winery recently completed a solar installation project consisting of 378 panels, making it the largest photovoltaic solar array in Walla Walla County. The 100-kilowatt installation, which is ground-mounted adjacent to the winery, will have an annual production of over 100,000 kilowatt-hours and is projected to provide 70% of the winery’s energy needs.
Partner and winemaker Jean-François Pellet spearheaded the solar project. He studied the environmental impact and reviewed the feasibility of the technology to ensure it was the right investment for the family-owned business. Thanks to a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant, the winery received funds to be used towards the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems. Pellet and the Pepper Bridge Winery team wanted to ensure the project would embrace local businesses. The equipment was all made in America, with the majority of it coming from Washington. Northwest-based North Coast Electric planned and built the system and Walla Walla Electric installed it.
Once the grant was secured, construction took two months. The winery expects the system to pay for itself over 10 years and cut annual electricity charges by up to 80 percent.
“We are always looking for ways our winery can lessen its impact on the environment,” said Pellet. “Whether it’s using earth friendly practices in the vineyard or using the sun’s rays to create energy, we are mindful of reducing our carbon footprint. This was a great investment for our company.”
The endeavor further demonstrates Pepper Bridge Winery and its sister winery Amavi Cellars’ strong commitment to sustainability, a core value of the family-owned businesses. Pellet, was instrumental in creating Vinea, the Winegrowers’ Sustainable Trust, more than ten years ago. Pellet remains an active member in the organization, which was Walla Walla Valley’s first sustainable viticulture program.
About Pepper Bridge Winery
Pepper Bridge Winery represents the pioneering spirit of the Walla Walla Valley. Owned and operated by three families, the McKibbens, the Goffs and the Pellets, the winery is a leader in quality winemaking, innovative technology and vineyard development. Pepper Bridge Winery produces Bordeaux-style wines using traditional winemaking techniques, French oak and estate fruit from the Walla Walla Valley. Combining old-world philosophy with modern innovation, the winery has become an industry leader. For more information visit www.pepperbridge.com